Toilet Runs Every 5-10 Minutes for 30 Seconds

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A toilet that runs every 5-10 minutes is a common bathroom issue which can be annoying to encounter. Apart from constantly hearing the sound, it can cause your water bills to rise due to wasted water. Fortunately, fixing this issue isn’t too tricky and can be done by most people with just a few tools. Here are some of the most common causes and ways to fix them.

Bad Flapper

A damaged or outdated flapper might be the number one culprit for a toilet running every 5-10 minutes. Over time, the water, combined with the chlorine products, deteriorates the toilet moving parts, causing your toilet to leak, even if it is not in use.

The toilet tank flapper is a simple toilet part, a seal made of rubber, flexible and durable enough to navigate the flush valve that holds on the water in the cistern, but also vulnerable to disintegration and leaks, explains Stephany Smith from My Plumber.

Jake Romano from John The Plumber has one method of figuring out whether the flapper has gone bad. Mark the tank’s water level, or measure it with a ruler and shut off the water valve beside the toilet. Wait an hour and then check it. If the water level has gone down to the flapper, this indicates you will need to replace the flapper. Flapper valves usually need to be replaced after damage or a few years of age.

Even if your flapper is a water-resistant device, there’s one thing that you can do to make your part withstand the test of time. Smith suggests refraining from adding chlorine-based cleaners to the toilet tank.

black toilet flapper

Long Or Stuck Flapper Chain

Often, a short or stuck flapper chain can make it impossible for the rubber seal to flush correctly. You’ll know this if you feel tension when you push the handle. One simple readjustment by hand can make your flapper-chain combo do its job.

During other times, the flapper chain maybe just too long. When the chain is long, it will get stuck between the flush valve and the flapper. As a result, water leaks occur because the flapper doesn’t seal correctly. To fix this issue you can simply buy a new flapper chain and replace it with the old one.

Too Much Water Pressure

Your toilet tank components are delicate and designed to open and close the fill valve at normal water pressure ranges.

Smith says, “If the residential water pressure is excessive - over 70-80 psi to be specific, your toilet tank may be running intermittently.”

Over time, toilets and the other home appliances under stress from excessive pressure are likely to form cracks, or the flapper rubber seal can break, causing the water tank to run frequently, she adds.

If your pressure gauge dial indicator has been giving high-pressure readings regularly, you may want to install a new or check the existing domestic water pressure regulator.

Bad Fill Valve

toilet ball fill valve

If your tank isn’t leaking, but the toilet keeps running, you need to replace the fill valve. Bad fill valves are known for causing issues with toilets.

“Toilet fill valves, or ballcocks, control the water filling in the tank,” says Romano. “They float as the water rises, which shuts the valve.”

Fill valves can also cause a toilet to leak continuously. Romano explains if you flush the toilet and lift the float arm or fill valve, the water should stop. If the water doesn't stop, it means that it's leaking.

You should replace the fill valve every five years. You can find a replacement kit in just about any hardware store, and they come with all components needed for it.

Toilet Runs FAQ

Why does my toilet run for 10 minutes after flushing?

A running toilet is almost always caused by a problem with the flush valve assembly, the "guts" of the toilet that you can see when you lift the lid off the toilet tank. A running toilet is usually caused by a bad flapper or the chain connected to the flapper.

How do you fix a phantom flush?

When a toilet is flushing on its own, replacing the flapper will fix the problem most of the time. If this doesn't work, try replacing the fill valve that is connected to the flapper.

Does phantom flushing raise water bill?

Your toilet runs because water is slowly leaking out of the tank or the toilet. This causes the toilet to run or flush itself in order to fill up with water again.

This cycle of water leaking and filling back up does increase your water bill. It can increase your water usage by up to 200 gallons of water per day, all of which costs you money.

How much water does the average toilet use when flushed?

A lot of water is used every time a toilet is flushed. A standard toilet can use as much as seven gallons of water on every flush, while a low-flow toilet will use a little more than a gallon and a half per flush.

How much does it cost to fix a toilet that keeps running?

Fixing a toilet flapper is one of the most inexpensive repairs you will ever make. This will cost you less than $20 to fix on your own as DIY job.

Fill valves are also inexpensive. You will spend around $10 to $20 for the valve itself and replacing a fill valve is a task you can do on your own.